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Domestic Diva Stewart May Join Pope In Down-And-Out Cuba

Thu., Jan. 8, 1998, midnight

Can that doyenne of the happy home, Martha Stewart, teach materially deprived Cubans to make their lives, well, nicer and prettier?

And if she can, will it be a good thing?

Officials at the Foreign Ministry in Havana have confirmed the Cuban government’s approval of a visa for Stewart that allows her to travel to Cuba during the visit of Pope John Paul II later this month.

Officials at CBS wouldn’t confirm or deny the trip, but industry sources said that the high priestess of homemaking plans to tape segments from the Communist island for “This Morning” show, which she joined nearly a year ago after a lengthy stint on NBC’s “Today” show.

They pointed out that a visit by Stewart, the model capitalist, to an isolated Communist country isn’t as strange as it may seem considering the mushrooming popularity of Cuban food and Cuban culture.

But a visit by Stewart, who once said that every home’s closet should contain floral tape and a hot glue gun, is almost certain to conjure up images of the homemaking guru trying to teach poor, confounded Cubans how to make centerpieces from pine cones.

In Cuba, many people live in hovels covered by leaking roofs. They suffer from unreliable supplies of both electricity and water. Few people can afford a bar of soap, and powdered milk is considered a luxury.

In contrast, Stewart is master of her own destiny. As the CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Stewart oversees a money-making machine that includes a magazine, a television show, a mail-order business and a branded line of home products.

The popular personality once worked on Wall Street. She owns six palatial homes and drives a Jaguar XJ6.


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